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It takes a community

Recently, a woman was  shot 13 times outside of her child’s daycare allegedly by her ex-husband. She lived and is in critical condition. There is an extensive history between the two of them involving domestic violence, custody, the Department of Child Services, courts and social service agencies. After he allegedly shot her 13 times, he fled to Kentucky where he later turned himself in. Bond was originally set for $100,000- essentially keeping this man in jail until his trial, but was reduced to $25,000, meaning when he could come up with $2,500 cash he would be out of jail. Conditions of his release include GPS monitoring. His victim is still in the hospital in critical condition.

There are so many components of this case that, as an advocate, I cannot explain. I sat in a room full of law enforcement yesterday and none of them had the answers either. They are being bombarded with calls from victims asking how the officer can ensure their safety.  Victims are scared; they are outraged and want to know why a man who put 13 bullets into his ex-wife outside of the daycare their daughter attends and then fled the state received such a light bond. Officers do not feel confident any longer saying to a victim, he’s going away for a long time. The system is broken, they say. Our hands are tied.

As victim advocates, it is our responsibility to promote victim safety and offender accountability. It is our job to educate the community on the dynamics of domestic violence, to encourage healthy relationships amongst our youth and be a voice for those who have lost theirs.

The Domestic Violence Network’s responsibility is to engage the community to end domestic violence through advocacy, education and collaboration.

Your responsibility, as a community, is to hold your elected officials accountable.  Write letters demanding answers. Demand that your news stations report family violence as family violence. Do not accept the answer of ‘we don’t know the motive’ when a father shoots his son and then himself. Challenge your friends when they make off handed comments about domestic violence and sexual assault.

Together, we can end domestic violence. It takes a community to stand up and say we will not tolerate this anymore. And if you chose to hurt the person you are supposed to love the most, you will be held accountable for your actions. Together, collectively, we make a bigger impact than individually. Join me in saying NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault.